This Italian-Style Summer Pasta with Yellow Squash, Olives and Tomatoes is a quintessential addition to your warm weather line up. Best served at room temperature or just slightly warmed makes it a low maintenance, refreshing delight.
The inspiration for this pasta is from my first cookbook, Rachael Ray’s 365, published and purchased back in 2005. Rachael’s original recipe is wonderful, but fridge clear-outs lead to great innovations! After 17 years of renditions, this Light Summer Squash Angel Hair is well-tested and perfectly balanced. It’s refreshing in a summer evening and tastes even better as leftovers!
Tell Me More About It…
My favorite parts of this pasta are its depth of flavors and adaptability. Beyond your San Marzano tomato base, you get a freshness from the cherry tomatoes and squash, a hint of lemon from the zest, along with vibrance from the fresh basil. Beyond that, the undertones of pesto and tang of Castelvetrano olives add even another element of flavors. I think this is when Guy from Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives says, “Welcome to Flavortown!” And if it sounds like too much, it isn’t. Just trust us 🙂
In regards to adaptability, there are so many ways to alter this recipe. If you don’t have fresh basil, lemon thyme or parsley are great substitutes. I really enjoy this recipe with the Castelvetrano Olives, but dry salt cured olives also can be a wonderful replacement, enhancing the umami-ness of the pasta! Just look at what’s in your fridge… Got eggplant to use? How about that half bag of frozen peas? Go for it! I suggest trying the recipe below and adjusting it to your own creation! Who knows, 17 years from now I may be reading your blog post on the “updated” summer pasta….
How Do You Serve It?
Now let’s talk about versatility. This recipe is an excellent stand-alone meal. It can be paired with a variety of proteins. As you see here, we pair it with our Lemon Thyme and Tarragon Grilled Chicken, but it’s wonderful with shrimp, grilled portobellos, and even tenderloins (pork or beef)! Or if you want to go vegetarian style, maybe throw in some mozzarella pearls and serve it with garlic bread… The world is your oyster!
Tips and Tricks for Italian-Style Summer Pasta With Squash, Olives and Tomatoes
- Canned tomatoes matter and are NOT made equally. We love DOP Certified San Marzano tomatoes. This heirloom plum tomato is a genetic parent of the Roma tomato, but the San Marzano is comparatively fleshier, less acid, and sweeter. A certified San Marzano tomato is grown in a specific region near Naples, Italy called Valle de Sarno and known for its volcanic soil. Be aware, there are many fakes and deceptive practices out there, so read the label carefully. The benefit of San Marzanos is that they are consistent, delicious, and now easily found at most grocery stores. If you can’t get ahold of them or find them to be too expensive, this brand here also has rave reviews from an epicurious blind taste test. But to summarize, use a quality tomato, it WILL make a big difference in your final taste
- Leftover pasta is delicious. All of the flavors meld together and make each bite mmm so good. Since this pasta is made to be served room temp or slightly warm, it’s an especially good candidate for leftovers. That being said, many gluten-free pastas won’t hold their shape for days and days in the refrigerator. Just be aware of the pasta you are using and how well it holds its shape after being cooked. If you don’t have a great pasta, we recommend this Divella brand.
- Want your squash to look beautiful? Use a fork and scrape it top to bottom around the entire perimeter of your squash. Then cut into 1/4 inch circles and cut those into quarters. Don’t understand? Check out this video here (she uses cucumbers, but it’s the same technique).
- Made too much sauce? Hint: think grilled bruschetta (minus the angel hair, of course)… and go from there!